Now it’s 2013. If you’re like most people you sat at home last night and watched terrible TV then went to bed at 12:05. The 5% of people that posted something on Facebook to the contrary are trying to look sociable so people that are not will feel or think something. I don’t understand.

Anyway, most people don’t make resolutions but just about everyone talks about them. And no one is ever able to fulfil resolutions because they are basically empty promises. So if you’re going to try and make 2013 a better year, make plans, not resolutions.

The way most people make resolutions, it’s a weak promise to themselves. It’s really only followed by some type of hope that they will come true.

Plans on the other hand should be much more robust. Let’s use the classic example of losing weight. A resolution is just to lose it. A plan includes specific actions that will be taken, milestones, and even contingencies for unforeseen roadblocks.

For losing weight that would certainly include periodic weigh-ins and expectations for what the scale would say. It would also entail how the person will actually lose the weight. If it’s through exercise, then how and when the exercise will occur is important. Dieting is effective as well, but how it happens and when you’re allowed to cheat should be in the plan too.

If you really want to make a plan effective, share it with others. Publicly announce your plan to lose weight and empower those around you to check in and ask how things are going. This of course assumes you actually want to accomplish your plan. If you’re just wishing for a better year, then resolutions are certainly the way to go. Sometimes you might get lucky, and maybe your resolutions will come true. But it’s a lot more likely with a plan.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to make a new year better than the last. But it’s only going to happen if you make it happen.

Happy New Year. Make it better or it won’t be.

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categories: psychology